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Henry's End - When, if ever, to get black bear?

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So I'm very excited to take my first trip to Henry's End sometime between october and february this year when they are having their wild game festival. I'm especially curious to try the black bear, which is a meat I've never eaten. So I have two questions. Has anyone tried this there? Any reports?
Second, is there a specific time of year during which bear is best? On another thread, someone said that bear is best in spring because that's when they've been eating berries. Does that mean I should wait until then? The game festival only goes through february, which might not even count as spring. This trip is going to be a relatively big deal for me, so I'd like to try to get the most out of it. On the other hand, I'm also chomping at the bit to try this highly recommended restaurant.

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  1. Actually, its true, though I've never had it. Their website lists Black Bear with Juniper sauce and something they serve as part of thier Wild Game Festival.

    1. I'd call first if you specifically want the bear & ask Mark if it's being served. As a regular for 20something years who eats from the game menu every year at least 6-8 times, I dont remember ever seeing it on the menu and I've never eaten it. If you arent singlemindedly focused on the bear, I recommend the elk chops and the turtle soup as the stars of the game menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve R

        Ditto all around. Steve is absoultely right. I've been there for the game menu at least twice a season for the past six or seven years and have never seen bear on the menu. He's also right about the elk chops and about calling Mark first if you're going only for the bear.

      2. It's only young wild bears that will taste better if they have only been eating berries. They actually taste sweet. Older bears that have been eating salmon might actually taste fishy. All adult wild bears that have been eating a mixed diet of berries and meat for most of their lives will have the same gamey taste. But it's all a moot point since it's impossible, if not illegal in NY, for a restaurant to serve wild game that's actually been hunted. I'm sure if Henry's, or any other restaurant in NYC, is serving bear that animal was farm raised and who knows what they were feeding it. If you want to taste a truly wild "berry bear" you'll need to go to Alaska and befriend someone who will go out and kill one. Believe me, it's worth the trip.

        1. What el jefe says is completely true. I wanted to mention it at the beginning of the thread but didn't want to sound like a smart aleck.

          There is a 99.9% chance that whatever bear you would eat in a NY state restaurant comes from a farm. Any restauranteur or chef that would serve a hunted bear from NY state would be shut down, fined, even imprisoned. As well, there is more chance serving wild bear that it would be not as tasty, too many risk factors. Farm raised means controlled diet and other conditions.

          Game eating is not really Hemingwayesque folks. Its all about what you can afford to pay.

          1. Thanks, everyone, for all the feedback. I only came up with the bear idea after checking out HE's website. If it's not on the menu when I go, that will just make it easier to choose among the many menu items that sound incredible. Now I'll definitely have to go for the elk chops.

            1. Please add general input on eating black bears on the thread we've moved to the General Topics board http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...